Font Size
A
A
A

Antibiotics Side Effects and Types

What Are Antibiotics? Which Infections Do They Treat?

Antibiotics are among the most frequently prescribed medications in modern medicine. Antibiotics cure disease by killing or injuring bacteria. The first antibiotic was penicillin, discovered accidentally from a mold culture. Today, over 100 different antibiotics are available to cure minor, and life-threatening infections.

Although antibiotics are useful in a wide variety of infections, it is important to realize that antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics are useless against viral infections (for example, the common cold) and fungal infections (such as ringworm). Your doctor can best determine if an antibiotic is right for your condition.

What Are the Side Effects of Antibiotics?

Antibiotics may have side effects. Some of the more common side effects may include:

  • Soft stools or diarrhea
  • Mild stomach upset

You should notify your doctor if you have any of the following side effects:

What Are Symptoms of An Allegic Reaction to An Antibiotic?

Some people are allergic to certain types of antibiotics, most commonly penicillin. If you have a question about a potential allergy, ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking the medicine.

Allergic reactions commonly have the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lips, face, or tongue
  • Fainting
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/19/2017
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Antibiotics

Abscess
Abscess An abscess is has several causes and can appear ...learn more >>
Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess Anal abscesses include perirectal abscess and perianal abscess. Both types of abscesses need immediate medical attention. Causes of anal abscesses include indiv...learn more >>
Appendicitis
Appendicitis The cause of appendicitis is not clear. Common symptoms of appendicitis include vague abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, constipation, diarrhea. Some peop...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Antibiotics (Side Effects, List, Types):

Antibiotics - Diseases

What have you used antibiotics to treat?

Antibiotics - Types

Have you found some antibiotics more effective than others?

Antibiotics - Side Effects

What side effects have you encountered while on antibiotics?

Antibiotics - Drug Interactions

Did you experience any negative drug interactions when taking antibiotics?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Antibiotics: A Review of ED Use »

Note: A one-page reference table with key therapy recommendations taken from this article can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat format by clicking the Antibiotics Guidelines Summary.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary